I pledge to Nigeria my country To be faithful, loyal and honest To serve Nigeria with all my strength To defend her unity And uphold her honor and glory So help me God.
“the country Nigeria” failed us and at such we were not bound to uphold her doctrines or give her anything. Patriotism meant nothing to us.
Back then in school, we would always fantasize about how we would find our way out of Nigeria, never to return. The country did not deserve our allegiance. And so, when all of us (millions throughout the country) were made to recite the National pledge everyday at school, it was just a cadence of poetic assertions that held no meaning.
Nigeria, being the sixth largest oil producing country in the world and having the largest economy in Africa, should at least live up to some of our expectations, or so I believed. But I was soon to find out that the country did not justify any of my beliefs.
The educational system is in exigency. 39% of adults and 72% of primary six students cannot read and write. Also, the country has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (10.5 million).
The ongoing conflict in the Northeast has destroyed 28% of educational facilities in the region. About 60% of Nigerian youths are unemployed. Thousands of women and children die yearly due to lack of proper health care infrastructure. Nigeria has continuously been ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world; insecurity has spiralled out of control.
The most disturbing fact is that the government does very little about all these. So it was no news that by the time I turned 20, I had already lost all faith in the country Nigeria. But today as I drove through the streets of Benin City, with the sun blazing tenaciously overhead, I looked out of my window and that was when I saw her that was when I saw Nigeria my people, Not the country Nigeria, but the real Nigeria.
I saw her in the three little kids playing with sand on the roadside, trying to enjoy their childhood even if the country Nigeria is making it a hellish experience.
I saw her in the woman selling cooked food with a wheelbarrow, ignoring the blazing heat just to provide for herself and her family.
I saw her in the meat seller, who is a university graduate.
I saw her in the mechanic under a vehicle trying to undo the damages caused by the dreadful roads.
I saw her in the little boy selling in the street when he should be at school. I saw her in the brick layer sweating profusely.
I saw her in the young lady hawking corn just to make ends meet. I saw Nigeria my people in the child running towards my car to sell ‘pure’ water.
I saw the passion my people work with despite the numerous rights abuses the country inflicts on us.
I saw the loved ones of victims of terrorism weathering the storm and standing up in their own unique way to fight against corruption.
I saw the country Nigeria imposing exorbitant taxes and levies on my people to frustrate our existence.
I saw my countrymen rising above all and coming out with strength and unity that only emanates from diversity.
I saw my fellow Nigerians overcoming ethical and religious dogma and converging to fight for what she believes as true.
Then I realized that even if the country Nigeria failed me, Nigeria my people did not. They made me believe in Nigeria once again and made me understand that contrary to my belief that I had a duty to the country Nigeria, my only duty is to Nigeria my people.
And this is why I stand here today to say:
I pledge to Nigeria my people To be faithful, loyal and honest To serve them with all my strength To defend their unity And uphold their honor and glory So help me God.
HAPPY 55TH INDEPENDENCE NIGERIA.
Written By Nigerian Scholar and Writer; Samuel Okotie.
Produced and Published by Egbeobauwaye Alex Enoyore for Alex Enoyore's Blog Media.Copyright © ; 2015 Alex Enoyore Blog.